HOCKEY: Sharks not panicking heading into Game 2

San Jose Sharks

Going back to the drawing board is not something the San Jose
Sharks, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference portion of the
Stanley Cup Playoffs, necessarily need to do following Wednesday’s
2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at sold-out HP Pavilion.
SAN JOSE

Going back to the drawing board is not something the San Jose Sharks, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference portion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, necessarily need to do following Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at sold-out HP Pavilion.

Instead, the Sharks were unanimous in the fact that their game plan is still appropriate and that only a fine-tuning in terms of execution is needed in order to square the best 4-of-7 series at 1-1 in tonight’s Game 2 back at The Tank at 7:30 p.m.

The eighth-seeded Avalanche snapped a 1-1 tie with 49.3 seconds left in regulation Wednesday to gain the 1-0 series lead.

Chris Stewart, playing in his first Stanley Cup playoff game, earned the game-winner. His hard pass from behind the goal line near the right corner toward the San Jose crease bounded off the skate of San Jose’s Rob Blake and past goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

“We have to execute better on our game plan,” Patrick Marleau noted in simple terms after Thursday’s practice. “We got some pucks deep (in the Colorado zone) but didn’t have the guys in position to get them. The pucks went in too far and their goalie could handle them.”

Coach Todd McLellan echoed the need for the Sharks to get better in entering the Avalanche zone and securing the puck.

“If you don’t place the puck properly, you won’t get it back,” said the coach. “(Goalie Craig) Anderson was their best defenseman in the second period.”

San Jose was outshot in the second period, 12-3.

Added McLellan, “We’ll go out, establish our game, get in their zone more often.”

Blake said the Sharks needed to move the puck past the quick Avalanche front line.

“Once we come through the neutral zone, we’ll be able to set up and our shots will go up,” he said.

Scott Nichol, who tied with Joe Pavelski for the most hits by a Shark with five in Game 1, acknowledged that the Avalanche were able to escape a hectic first few minutes and then take a 1-0 lead in the second period with John-Michael Liles’ power-play goal.

“They weathered the storm,” Nichol said of Colorado’s ability to keep the game scoreless, despite six Sharks’ shots on net in the opening three minutes.

“Colorado has four or five guys back, so it’s tough to get through. It’s one game. It’s going to be an exciting series.”

Tonight’s game is critical for the Sharks’ momentum heading to Colorado.

Games 3 and 4 of the series will be played in Denver on Sunday and Tuesday.

The fifth game of the series, if needed, is set for Thursday night in San Jose.

Remaining schedule after tonight:

Game 3 at Colorado, Sunday 6:30 p.m.

Game 4 at Colorado, Tuesday 7 p.m.

*Game 5 at San Jose, Thursday 7:30 p.m.

*Game 6 at Colorado, Saturday, TBD

*Game 7 at San Jose, Monday, TBD

*If necessary

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